WhatsApp and Business

August 26, 2016   |   Margaret Chialastri

WhatsApp is going to allow businesses on the platform by the end of the year. So, what does that mean for businesses and should you care?

First, in case you aren’t a user, WhatsApp is a cross-platform messaging application that allows users to send messages without paying for text messages. It’s been around since 2009 and was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for a cool $19 billion. There are more than 1 billion users and it is currently the most popular messaging application on the market.

One billion users all in one place, seems like a no-brainer for businesses, right? Well, up until now WhatsApp had a firm stance on marketing – there would be none.

“No one wakes up excited to see more advertising, no one goes to sleep thinking about the ads they’ll see tomorrow.” – Jan Koum

WhatsApp was able to guarantee they wouldn’t need ad revenue to continue to serve its users with a $0.99 annual fee and close to a billion users. But, in January of this year, they made the App completely free, citing lack of credit or debit cards for many users. We all know what that means, the revenue has to come from somewhere.

Businesses will be introduced by the end of the year with the ability to connect with “useful” information. With the wealth of information WhatsApp and Facebook have about their user base this gives businesses a prime opportunity to capitalize on micro-moments.

Should you care? Obviously, not all businesses will see results from WhatsApp and at this point we don’t know what the cost for businesses will be. For service, travel, and hospitality based businesses the platform will give them another avenue to reach people for reminders of reservations. Brick and mortar businesses will be able to leverage location data to target users around the globe.

The opportunity to expand their reach and have yet another channel to reach their target audience is huge for many businesses.  It will be interesting to see the implementation and whether or not this change will affect the app usage and growth.

Tell us how you would use WhatsApp to reach your target audience! Tweet us @BlueWaterDC